Hussong’s Cantina gives traditional dishes modern zing
When you think of Mexican food, do you think of a simple bean and cheese burrito? It’s that, of course, but it’s so much more. At Hussong’s Cantina in The Shoppes at Mandalay Place, that basic burrito is just the beginning of a large, well-rounded, delicious experience.
Start with a margarita. Hussong’s Cantina claims that the first Hussong’s in Mexico was the originator of the drink. It would surely be an affront to history not to indulge in the classic: The Original Margarita comes with Sauza Blue Reposado, agave nectar and lime. Don’t feel constrained to only order the classic, though. Hussong’s has developed a bunch of recipes, and each is created with the type of tequila that complements best the other ingredients in the drink.
The classic chips, light and crispy, are served with several salsas. As we all know, that basket of chips will just hold you until your appetizer arrives, and it’s funny—no matter how large or small the basket of chips, that timing is perfect every meal. If you want a little more than salsa, order the guacamole. Three different types integrate ingredients such as mango, shrimp, habaneros and even Sriracha.
Hussong’s recently added a bunch of new items to the menu, and one is the tlacoyo. It’s essentially a super-thick corn masa tortilla, with refried beans, guajillo chile sauce, sour cream, guacamole and little pickled red onions and a bit of microgreens. It’s reminiscent of tamales, just in a flatter form, and with much more of the masa, which might be some folks’ favorite part of a tamale.
A fabulous grilled corn comes covered with cotija cheese and chili flakes—it’s sweet and slightly spicy. You might be tempted to order another ear right away, but hold off, because your main course is on the way.
Nosh: Hussongs Cantina
The mar y tierra alambre (yup, surf and turf) is a kabob with ribeye and shrimp alternating with corn, poblanos, onions and red peppers, served over an unusual chorizo risotto. There are bunches of types of taco here, from traditional carnitas (shredded pork) to grilled salmon. There are even veggie tacos like the Shrooms, where beer-battered portobello mushrooms, crunchy kale and tahini yogurt sauce are accented by Parmesan cheese and battered habanero rings. The habaneros add an excellent spicy kick to the mellow taco. Another pairs breaded, fried avocado with a Sriracha aioli.
Something you might not find on other Mexican menus is a complete vegan section, with Daiya cheese, beef and chicken and even fish substitute proteins for a range of tacos, enchiladas and tostadas (there’s even one of those wonderful tlacoyos).
And although it might be listed on the vegan menu, the chocolate cake with ancho chile-peanut butter frosting is pretty intense, and the strawberry sauce has a spiciness of its own.
The Shoppes at Mandalay Place, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. 702.632.6450